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Whatever profession you’re in, there’s a strong chance that as a Mac.AppStorm reader you occasionally need to delve into a FTP client. Whether that’s to transfer a file to someone, update your website, or access a service such as Amazon S3 – there are a multitude of reasons why an FTP app might come in handy.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Transmit 4. It’s a beautiful app with a very thorough feature set – two selling points that make it hard to ignore. In fact, it was one of the apps that originally made me want to switch across to the Mac (along with everything else designed by Panic at the time…)

There are plenty of other contenders, though – Forklift, Interarchy, and YummyFTP to name a few!

These all have their own unique selling points and features – you’d be amazed at how much scope there is for individuality in such a theoretically mundane niche of software. From disks that mount on your desktop to Automator support and “Droplets” – software can actually make FTP fun!

I’d be interested to hear which application you use – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Which FTP app do you use, how often do you need to open it, and why?

It’s not often that you see customers queueing for a new product release. With the exception of the occasional video game or smash-hit novel, Apple are fairly unique in their ability to encourage masses of tech geeks to congregate outside their stores a few times each year.

I’m far from immune. Over the past few years I’ve queued for an operating system, a couple of iPhones and, most recently, the iPad 2 (which garnered the biggest line I’ve ever seen).

Although the general media relish the opportunity to ridicule these events as being attended by gadget-obessed Apple “fanboys”, this isn’t always the reality.

I met a huge range of people queuing for the iPad 2 – from kids just finishing the school day, to a handful of 70+ year olds. Some people were disgruntled at the notion of having to queue to get their hands on Apple’s latest gadget, but many people enjoyed the experience. It’s a fun, social atmosphere and a good chance to chat with like-minded tech enthusiasts.

I’d be interested to know how many of you have stood in line to get your hands on a new Apple gadget. Is this something that I’m unique in enjoying, or would you agree that it can be a fun experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Launching applications is a functional, necessary action that you take every day. Rather than being an exciting process, when it comes to opening an app, the less friction and interaction required the better.

For a long time, Mac users have favoured a dedicated application launcher for doing just this. Although you can store plenty of handy application shortcuts in your Dock, it soon becomes cluttered and difficult to navigate (and it requires the use of your mouse).

For speedy application launching, few options are better than a piece of software such as Quicksilver, LaunchBar or Alfred. For the purists among you, OS X’s built-in search tool – Spotlight – is perfectly adept at this. Just invoke it using Cmd-Space and type the name of the application you’d like to start!

But which do you prefer to use on a daily basis? Or are you perfectly happy with the OS X Dock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Everyone needs a text editor – whether it’s for in-depth coding, or jotting down a quick note. There are plenty of scenarios throughout the day that don’t require a full-blown word processor, and there’s no shortage of different options available for the Mac.

Much of your decision will likely come down to specific requirements. Do you need a simple syncing solution? Maybe Notational Velocity would fit the bill. Is full-screen, distraction free writing important? Take a look at WriteRoom.

We’ve written about this extensively before, looking at 10 Versatile Text Editors for OS X.

Personally, I flutter between TextMate for coding, and Notational Velocity for everything else – I love knowing that everything I’ve written will be easily accessible through Simplenote.

I’d love to know what your preference is – feel free to leave a vote above, or share your thoughts in the comments!

Although many people are perfectly happy using Gmail on the web, I’ve never particularly enjoyed the experience. I spend quite a bit of time reading and replying to email, and prefer to have an appealing interface in which to do so – Gmail might be functional, but it certainly isn’t pretty.

For the past five years or so, Mail.app was my preferred client of choice. It did everything I required from an email client, and synced well across my various devices. But development has slowed in recent years, and little has changed in the app since the release of Leopard.

I’ve recently made the move across to Postbox, and couldn’t be happier. It’s a fantastic piece of software, and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. If you’re tired of Mail.app (or your webmail interface), Postbox is definitely worth giving a try.

Of course, there are plenty of other alternatives. Take a look at our roundup of 8 Awesome Alternatives to Mail.App on Your Mac for some inspiration.

I’d be interested to hear what you think. Are you content with firing up Gmail.com, or do you prefer a desktop email companion? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to vote!

Generally speaking, I usually find the “insurance upsell” to be a total rip-off. Only last week I was offered the chance to insure my new kettle against damage. I mean, really? It’s a kettle…

But when it comes to Apple products, I tend to have a different opinion. I’ve bought AppleCare for two machines in the past, and both times I made the most of the extended warranty with repairs or replacements for various parts.

Although it may look like a solid, magical piece of aluminium, your MacBook is actually a very complicated piece of technology. And things do go wrong! Although AppleCare costs a few hundred extra bucks at the outset, I’ve always found it to be a worthwhile investment.

But do you feel the same way? I’d love to hear your opinion, as this is a topic that doesn’t come up all that often. Are you an AppleCare user, and if so, have you ever actually needed to use it?

People have mixed opinions about notifications. Is it better to have a subtle popup appear every time an email arrives, or would you prefer to just check it manually?

And what about changing iTunes tracks, Twitter DMs, Dropbox uploads, and everything else that happens in the background. Should you be informed about all these events as well?

The worst case scenario would be that each of these events is handled by different applications, leading to a complex mess of different notification locations, styles, and sounds. Thankfully, we have an application called Growl that does a wonderful job of solving this problem.

Put simply, Growl is a central “notification server” for your Mac. It takes information from all your different applications, and shows relevant notifications in the same consistent way. You may even be running Growl without realising it, as it comes bundled with many popular Mac apps (though they’re not particularly happy about it…)

I’d be interested to hear what you think about notifications. Are you a Growl-lover, or do you prefer to work uninterrupted? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in our poll above!

Despite many complaints, niggles and annoyances, Apple has stuck by their cloud service for over a decade. Originally introduced in January, 2000 as iTools, it has gone through countless revisions, updates and re-branding efforts. Now called MobileMe, it’s a huge improvement over the years of neglect we saw to .Mac.

But does MobileMe cut it as a cloud service? Although it now does a pretty great job of syncing all your information, it falls down when it comes to file sharing and cloud data storage. There are plenty of rumours circulating about a major upgrade (centred around their big data centre project), but these are now over a year old and we haven’t seen an announcement.

Personally, I’ve been a MobileMe subscriber for the past five years. I love the sync functionality, and consider the price to be justified for this integration alone. Of course it’s possible to use Google’s free option, but it never feels quite as polished to me.

What do you think? Are you a loyal MobileMe subscriber of several years, or is it something that you’d never consider in the present format? Have your say in the poll and feel free to share any thoughts in the comments!

Interested in learning about some of the alternatives available? Check out MobileMe: A Worthy Investment? (And a Few Alternatives) for everything you need to know!

Whatever your opinion of the new Mac App Store, it’s certainly here to stay. I believe that it has created a fantastic new channel of distribution for developers, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the seamless process it offers for downloading and installing software.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve bought around ten applications, and downloaded many more free ones to try out. This is definitely an increase over my app-downloading activity prior to the store launch, and there’s no doubt that I’m trying more software because of it.

I wondered whether this is the same for you? Is absent-mindedly flicking through the Mac App Store a regular occurrence, or is it somewhere that you rarely frequent?

Let us know in the comments, and be sure to tell us how many apps you’ve purchased so far in today’s poll!

The notion of a “Mac Media Centre” has always fascinated me, and I love the idea of having a home entertainment system that’s completely centred around OS X. Once you get used to the simplicity of the Mac interface, using any other piece of consumer electronics can sometimes feel as though you’re trying to navigate the space shuttle back to Earth.

Apple’s “hobby” – the Apple TV – offers a good solution to this problem for certain tasks, but it’s still fairly restrictive if you’d like to have a fully Apple powered media centre. Even if you simply want to watch live TV, you’re going to need something more flexible.

The two main candidates that spring to mind are either the Mac Mini, or a small MacBook stashed away underneath your LCD screen. Both are perfectly capable of performing media centre duties, and have the required output to send good quality video and sound to your entertainment system.

But how many of you have made the jump? I’d love to know whether you’re using a Mac to power your home entertainment system and, if so, which software you use. Are you happy with navigating around OS X, or do you prefer something such as Hulu, Plex, or Boxee?

Let us know, and do share your thoughts in the comments!

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